This spectacular coffee was washed with a standard natural process with one minor but labor-intensive intervention: after sorting and floating, fresh coffee cherry is placed into a hermetic plastic liner (in this case, a fresh GrainPro bag) and tied shut, where it is allowed to speed-ripen for five full days prior to drying. This method, which the farmers calls the “winey” process due to the additional wine-like volatiles and acids present in the final cup, is an attempt to maximize the ripening of available sugars in the fruit for absorption to the seed inside.
It is a constant chore of maintaining temperature stability so the extreme environment inside the bag doesn’t spoil the cherry, and as such often involves moving the bags in and out of direct sun around the clock. Once cured, the softened and fragrant coffee cherries are taken directly to raised beds under shade for a very gradual drying process of almost three weeks.
Oxygen-deprived, or “anaerobic” fermentation environments like the above have gained traction among processing wonks in coffee for the unique flavors and tanginess they can add, as well as creating wholly distinct flavors in the cup than those we’re used to.
In this case, the farmers took an exemplary natural Ethiopian Sidama coffee and added a definite bump of intensity to the fruit flavors, and concentration to the mouthfeel. The coffee is extra pulpy, syrupy, pineapple-sweet, and yes, red wine-like indeed.
Images Provided by Royal Coffee, Inc.